Hurst to help lead initiative to combat violent crime in Jackson

By U.S. DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE MEDIA RELATIONS,

JACKSON – Today, Hickory native Mike Hurst, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi, along with the Jackson Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and many other federal, state and local law enforcement and community leaders, announced the rollout of a new collaborative initiative to combat violent crime in the City of Jackson.

Known as PROJECT EJECT, the initiative is designed as an enhanced violent crime reduction program that incorporates decades of experience in bringing various levels of law enforcement together with stakeholders in the community, with the overall goal of producing a long-term, meaningful reduction in and prevention of violent crime.

PROJECT EJECT stands for “Empower Jackson Expel Crime Together.”

Joined by law enforcement, community, faith-based, non-profit, neighborhood association and business leaders in Jackson, U.S. Attorney Hurst described the project as a multi-disciplinary, holistic approach that combines law enforcement arrests and prosecutions of violent criminals with prevention efforts, rehabilitation and reentry, educational initiatives, and improved communication.

“We want to empower Jackson and its citizens, to expel crime from our communities, and work together to make our Capitol City safe for everyone,” said Hurst. “The message to violent criminals in Jackson is simple — if you violate our laws and terrorize our neighborhoods, you will be ejected from our community. In the federal system, we will immediately lock you up, move to detain you without bond, you will serve a significant prison sentence without parole, and we will seek to have you serve your sentence away from Mississippi.” 

“But, there is hope in all of this. To those terrorizing our neighborhoods, put down your illegal guns and obey the law, and you can live as law-abiding citizens with us in our communities.  And, if you do break the law and are ejected, know that there is grace at the other end. After you serve your sentence, you can choose to be rehabilitated, follow the law and re-enter society. The ultimate goal of PROJECT EJECT is a safer Jackson for all of us.”

The goal of PROJECT EJECT is to reduce violent crime and make Jackson neighborhoods safer for all to enjoy. Part of the project will include discussions with the public and encouraging communities to help law enforcement in this effort, as well as communicating to the criminals that they will be prosecuted and punished for gun crimes and violent crimes. The Project will also seek to support locally-based prevention, rehabilitation and re-entry efforts, to stop violence and crimes before they occur and to help those whom have been punished to return to society as law-abiding citizens.

PROJECT EJECT is comprised of approximately a dozen agents and task force officers from various federal and state agencies who interact on a daily basis with the Jackson Police Department to identity and respond to violent crimes when they occur in Jackson. Cases arising from these crimes are then presented to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for prosecution. 

Over the next few months, PROJECT EJECT will seek to hold town hall meetings to educate the public and solicit input, conduct media campaigns to raise awareness of the project and its consequences to would-be criminals, and grow and strengthen the partnership between the project and its stakeholders in the community.

“If we expect Jackson and the surrounding metropolitan area to be a viable option for our children and their future, then we need to work diligently to reduce not only violence in general but violence committed with a firearm,” said Christopher Freeze, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Jackson Division. “We will leverage the full resources of the FBI to provide a long term solution to dramatically reduce violent crime in the city of Jackson, and create a safer place today and for our children in the future.”

“Ensuring the safety and security of our residents in the city of Jackson is a priority for ATF,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Dana Nichols. “We are proud to partner with local law enforcement, our federal partners, the United States Attorney's Office, and the community on this violent crime initiative. Project EJECT is another example of how by working together, law enforcement and the community, we can truly make a difference in the city of Jackson.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office is leading PROJECT EJECT, with First Assistant U.S. Attorney Darren LaMarca guiding the taskforce and Assistant U.S. Attorney Abe McGlothin serving as the Project Safe Neighborhoods Coordinator.